The Mets 2022 starting staff is mostly filled with question marks, which is why they need to make an all-out effort to resign Marcus Stroman.
The Mets 2022 projected starting staff is subject to the whim of pitchers returning from injury and two very prominent free-agents who may or may not leave the team.
Of the Mets starters this past year, we know for sure that Tommy Lucchesi is out until next September, David Peterson should be back from a toe injury, and, of course, regarding the elephant in the room Jacob deGrom, the Mets only have their fingers crossed.
Two other starters, Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco present themselves as somewhat of an enigma, and therefore likely to be penciled in with some trepidation for 2022.
Walker was lights out in the first half but fizzled in August and September, while Carrasco lost four months of the season with a hamstring injury, and his return was less than impressive, posting a 1-5 record and 6.04 ERA.
Tylor Megill showed promise at times and he is a good candidate for some heavy-duty attention at Triple-A Syracuse, working on his command, but he is not ready to join the Mets staff (yet).
Mets: To Sign Or Not To Sign
This brings us to two of the thirteen free agents on the Mets to-do list.
Noah Syndergaard made a cameo appearance for the Mets after rehabbing from surgery. As a pitcher filled with promise, he is a relative unknown from here forward and as such, is likely to be extended a qualifying offer by the Mets, which is expected to be about $20 million.
If offered, Syndergaard is apt to accept the offer with the intention of rebuilding his status as a premier pitcher during 2022, following that up with another go at free agency next year.
Given the uneasiness about the Mets staff going into 2022, Marcus Stroman should be at the top of the Mets list to re-sign.
The trouble for the Mets, though, is that while a glance, the Class of 2022 Free-Agent Starting Pitchers reveals several top-name pitchers (Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Clayton Kershaw), they are all well into their thirties.
This leaves Stroman (30.2) as the expected most sought-after starter on the list. Money will be a factor as Spotrac puts Stroman’s market value at $21 million per season, meaning a four-year deal will fall into the $85-90 million range.
Nevertheless, the Mets need a stabilizer in their rotation, and Stroman more than fits the bill. As the warhorse of the staff, Stroman made 33 starts over which he logged 180 innings, the most on the Mets.
At first glance, a look at Stroman’s 10-13 says just another pedestrian pitcher looking to cash in on the always rare commodity of starting pitching.
The Hidden Strength Of Marcus Stroman
To find the real Marcus Stroman requires a thorough look at his splits.
In the table below, for example, is Stroman’s performance gauged by the Met’s run support when he pitched. You’ll note that fourteen of Stroman’s decisions and twelve losses came when the Mets scored two or fewer runs for him.
And when the Mets do score runs for him, Stroman does not blow the opportunity, going 8-1 on those occasions.
Next, is a chart illustrating how Stroman fares as he goes through a lineup each time.
You’ll note that one those rare occasions when managers afford their starters a crack at the third time through, Stroman excels and actually has better numbers as the game goes along, decreasing the BA against to .208.
At a diminutive 5’7″ 180lbs, Stroman is not your typical 6’5″ 250lb pitcher we see these days. He reminds me of Pedro Martinez, though, with his demeanor on the mound. No nonsense – Here’s my pitch, try to hit it.
Since coming over from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, Stroman is now well-adapted to the National League. As a contact pitcher averaging less than one strikeout per inning, he relies heavily on his defense to catch the ball, an area the Mets need to shore up for all of their staff.
Unlike Syndergaard who has openly stated his preference to stay with the Mets, Stroman is being coy and has said little to the media.
Mets: No Time To Lose, But Stuck In Neutral
Reports in early October centered on mutual interest between Stroman and the Chicago Cubs, and in this instance, Stroman was not shy in commenting:
“The Cubs are always going to be a huge destination target. Just because of the history of the franchise, how amazing the franchise is. And the city’s one of my favorite cities.”
So, as indicated before, the Mets will have competition over Stroman. Also, the Mets are essentially in limbo until they hire a President of Baseball Operation and a General Manager.
The best the Mets can do for now is to keep in touch with Stroman by letting him know they want him back.
Fortunately, all teams are forced into inactivity until the World Series ends in about two weeks, and this should help by providing some time for the Mets to find and hire a person for at least one of the two vacancies